How to Store Coffee – Tips on Coffee Freshness

how to keep store coffee freshness
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Coffee Freshness

The subject of coffee freshness has been confused by ignorant coffee companies and consumers spreading lies and mistruths. I get it; you want to trust the company you bought the coffee from, and you put a certain amount of confidence into the information they print on the packaging. Unfortunately, many of them have no clue about proper storage of roasted coffee.

Coffee’s Enemies

  • Moisture
  • Heat
  • Light
  • Oxygen

Obviously, storing roasted coffee in ways that protect against the four elements is the objective.

The Lies

Coffee should never be stored in the refrigerator. Everything in the fridge is exposed to humidity/moisture.

Many coffee companies advise consumers to store their unused beans in the freezer. Placing coffee in the freezer should be avoided because the typical person isn’t going to go through the necessary steps to ensure proper handling.

Roasted coffee is safely frozen under the following conditions;

  • The coffee is moved into freezer-safe storage
  • The coffee is frozen once
  • The coffee is placed in a deep-freeze, not a kitchen freezer that is opened/closed daily

You can divide a large amount of coffee into smaller, week’s worth portions, placing each portion into freezer-safe containers. At the beginning of each week, remove one package from the freezer. Allow the frozen coffee to reach room temperature before grinding/brewing.

The Bean – A Freshness Container

A whole coffee bean acts as a protector of freshness. It shields the delicate oils from the outside elements. With typical consumer storage, whole bean coffee remains fresh for about two weeks.

When ground, the coffee immediately begins to spoil. The oils come into contact with oxygen. Air destroys the coffee, and the oils become rancid. This is why I say there is no *best* way to store ground coffee. To provide an answer would be like prescribing the best way to store curdled milk. It doesn’t matter what you do; it’s still going to be spoiled.

The Best Storage For Roasted Coffee

If you purchase fresh roasted, whole bean coffee, there are special containers you can purchase to prolong the freshness of the coffee. These containers provide protection from the four coffee freshness enemies.

After the roasting process, the coffee beans emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide. That is why you see valves on bags of roasted coffee. A lot of people think those valves are for vacuum sealing. They are one-way valves, allowing the CO2 to escape, while keeping the outside air from getting in.

After Opening

After opening the package, it is important to provide shelter from moisture, air, light, and heat. I’ve used two inexpensive options to store my coffee. They are opaque containers that effectively seal the beans inside, while providing a one-way valve for the CO2 to escape. I have complete confidence in both containers, and I continue to use them.

Place the amount of coffee you wish to store inside of the container, seal them, then put the container in an area that is not subject to temperature changes (i.e., sun exposure, near entry doors, etc.)

Here are my preferred coffee storage containers;

Coffee Gator

coffee gator reviewThe Coffee Gator is a simple storage container. It is a sort of coffee croc. The lid contains a one-way valve to allow the carbon dioxide a way out, without allowing air to enter the container. One-way valves are especially desirable if you’re going to keep the container sealed for multiple days. Operating the Coffee Gator quite easy, just push the lid down and flip the hasp. It doesn’t take much pressure or dexterity to engage the seal, so it shouldn’t be an obstacle for those with limits in those areas. Coffee Gator website

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The lid also provides two dials, one from 1-12 and the other from 1-31. You can use this to help keep track of when you began storing your beans.

CoffeeVac

coffeevacThe CoffeeVac works in much the same way, although its construction is plastic instead of stainless steel. I’ve had several CoffeeVac’s, which are available in several sizes. They are not as sturdy as the Coffee Gator, but they do work well. I would especially recommend the CoffeeVac if you’re storing smaller amounts of coffee, as you can store it with less air getting trapped inside of the container. Operate the CoffeeVac by pushing a button while sliding on the lid. You can hear the air being displaced and verify that the seal is working by attempting to remove the lid without depressing the button.

 
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Burr Grinder vs Blade Grinder: Why Does It Matter?

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burr grinder vs blade grinder

Burr vs. Blade Grinders: Why Does It Matter?

Guest post written by Sam Ellis

Some people still think that the only way they can improve the taste of their coffee is by buying better coffee or by using a more sophisticated coffee machine. They don’t realize that a very simple method to improve the taste of their daily brew is to change the way they grind it.

Before I started taking coffee seriously, I had owned and used several blade grinders. I never quite managed to grind beans to the same quality that I would find in packs of good, ground coffee at specialty coffee shops. The improvement I expected from having freshly ground beans simply didn’t happen because I was using blade grinders.

Long story short (if you know a bit about coffee, I don’t need to explain this to you), I eventually found the answer when I invested in a slightly more expensive grinder for my coffee – burr grinder.
So what are burr grinders and why do they generate a far superior grind for our coffee?

Burr vs. blade coffee grinders, the basics

Many people starting out with fresh coffee will often go for a blade grinder. I certainly did. Blade grinders are cheap; there is no question about it. They work by using a rotary blade which chops up the coffee beans inside the bowl of the grinder. There is no ability to control the grind size and getting a perfectly even grind is nearly impossible (at least beyond most people’s skills).

baratza encore coffee grinder

Nate’s Best Burr Grinder Value!

A burr grinder, on the other hand, will pass the coffee beans through two (or more) burrs which will crush the coffee, achieving an entirely even grind. They have a setting with which you can select the grind size – allowing you to grind your coffee to suit the brewing method.

Good burr grinders will be considerably more expensive than blade grinders, but if you are looking to have good coffee, the investment will certainly pay itself back over time.

Size Matters

Here’s where we need to get a bit technical. Bear with me.

As has been hinted above – one of the major benefits of a burr grinder is the even grind size. Even grind sizes matter more than you think in how your coffee tastes. That’s because a particle size will change the coffee extraction when your coffee maker passes hot water through it.

As you probably know, “extraction” refers to the process of dissolving solids (flavor) in the coffee beans into the water. Smaller particles will extract faster whereas larger ones slower, meaning that with a variety of grind sizes, you will have varying degrees of extraction in the same brew.


The result is some of your coffee getting over extracted and some under extracted. This matters because over-extracted coffee brings with it bitter flavor compounds ruining your brew while under extracted coffee will taste sour and even salty. The sourness in under-extracted coffee comes from the fact that some compounds, which balance acid tastes in the coffee beans, have not yet been dissolved into the water.

Under-extracted coffee will taste flat and lack complexity while over-extracted coffee will completely overwhelm your senses with an unpleasant bitterness.

Take Control

The distinction in particle sizes leads us to the second major benefit of a burr grinder vs. a blade grinder. The setting for grind sizes that you can make with burr grinders but cannot with a blade grinder is central to being able to make an excellent cup of coffee.

You might be aware that espresso coffee uses a very fine grind (and Turkish coffee an even finer one – more on that below) whereas drip coffee requires a coarser grind. Armed with our understanding of over and under-extraction we can now see why this is so crucial. Espresso will push the water at high speed and pressure through the coffee powder, whereas drip coffee will slowly pass the water through the grinds.

The more time the water spends in contact with the coffee grinds, the more coffee solids will be extracted. We balance this by using the right grind sizes – for espresso, the fine particles of the coffee will ensure that we extract the good flavors in the short time that the water spends in contact with the coffee.

So far so good, but there is more. Not only is your type of coffee machine an important variable when deciding about the grind size, but even different roasts, beans, and blends will have more or less of the bitter, sweet and sour flavour compounds meaning that they require different grinds.

A burr grinder lets you determine the best setting for your machine and your chosen coffee by allowing you to vary grind size with the turn of a knob. Once you’ve found the perfect setting, your burr grinder will ensure that your beans are ground to the perfect size day after day.

Feel the Burn

This might seem like an already strong case for burr grinders, but there is still one more benefit to mention. Here it comes down to physics. As you may remember from your science classes, when you rub two surfaces against each other, there is friction which in turns leads to heat.

Inside your blade grinder, the rapidly spinning blades will be rubbing the coffee beans against the sides of the grinder, generating enough heat to make the coffee feel slightly warm when you take it out of the grinder. This heat starts altering the flavor of your coffee beans while grinding, extracting some of that flavour into the air rather than into your coffee cup.

The one situation where a blade grinder is suitable

Is there any case where a blade grinder is preferable? Well, bar being on an extremely tight budget, a burr grinder will always be the preferred choice. And when you think that a grinder may last you five years or longer, the initial investment is not that huge.

There is, however, one type of coffee for which a blade grinder is suitable. This is where I get back to Turkish coffee: most burr grinders cannot produce the incredibly fine coffee powder that Turkish coffee requires. With a blade grinder, on the other hand, you can simply leave it to grind your coffee to the minimum particle size it allows. The challenge of mixed particle sizes is therefore in this case, not a problem (though you’ll still have the loss of flavour by heat).

Do you have any questions about the burr vs. blade grinders? Ask in the comments!

 

How To Make Coffee With The AeroPress :: Inverted AeroPress Video Tutorial

how to use the aeropress inverted method
Aeropress video tutorial :: How to Aeropress :: Aeropress Coffee

How to Use the AeroPress (Inverted Method)


When I started this blog, the first two videos were How To Brew Coffee With The French Press, and How To Brew Coffee With The AeroPress.  Admittedly, I was not on my game yet.  I have learned much since that time, and I have previously updated the French Press Tutorial, and now it’s time to set the record straight on how to PROPERLY use the AeroPress coffee brewer.  There are several techniques out there, but the one that I employ is easy for any Joe Schmoe to duplicate.  It produces a rich, flavorful cup of coffee, and does not involve any crazy tactics that will discourage you from using it on a daily basis.


When I first tried the AeroPress, I wanted to see what all of the hype was about.  People were, and still are, going crazy over this brewer.  I mean, how good can a coffee maker that is manufactured by Aerobie be?  These guys got famous by inventing a super duper frisbee for crying out loud.  Well, I was kind of disappointed when it was all said and done.  I strongly suggest chucking the included instructions into [Continue reading]

Black Friday Coffee Deals and Cyber Monday Coffee Deals

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Coffee Deals...and Beyond! Hello there, holiday shoppers! There's nothing as satisfying as getting all of your holiday shopping completed while seated at your computer. No crowds and no need to fight for parking … [Continue reading]

National Coffee Day Deals 2015 : #NationalCoffeeDay

National Coffee Day Deals 2015Of course, for us coffee freaks, every day is National Coffee Day. For normal people, it's just one day a year. This post will show you every place you can snag a free coffee on National Coffee Day 2015. There are … [Continue reading]